If your cat isn’t accustomed to being outdoors, fall can be a great time to introduce this new environment into your cat’s life. Your cat doesn’t have to be trained to walk on a leash in order to enjoy the outdoors (although that can work for some cats). There are a number of activities you can do with your cat outdoors that will keep your cat safe, happy and healthy.
Owners of indoor cats sometimes forego vaccinations because they assume their cat will not be exposed to the environmental hazards and illnesses that outdoor cats encounter. If you are planning to take your cat outdoors, it’s important to ensure your cat has all of the necessary vaccinations. Check with your vet for a list of what these are. It’s also a good idea to acquire a collar with identification, just in case something should happen and your cat gets away from you while outside.
Introduce a Leash or Harness
Cats will be much safer outdoors if they are kept under control and supervision at all times. Gradually introduce your cat to a leash or harness indoors over the course of a few days so your cat isn’t dealing with two new stimulations at once: being outside and being on a leash.
Head on Out
You don’t have to do much outside for your cat to be stimulated. Cats love to watch animals and birds, to pounce on insects and fall leaves, or just to sit in the sun and enjoy a new environment.
If you have the space for it, building your cat an outdoor enclosure is a great way to provide stimulation and enrichment. You can use commonly available materials, such as wire mesh, to create a small enclosed space where your cat can enjoy the fall weather and have an opportunity to get some fresh air. Alternately, there are commercially available pet playpens that you can collapse and expand; these allow your cat to be outside yet safely contained, which puts your mind at ease.
Another way you can get your cat some fresh air, especially if your cat does not take to a leash, is with a cat stroller. You’ll get exercise on a daily walk and your cat will get the stimulation of being in a new environment, seeing new things and smelling new smells.
Deciding to Stay In
If you aren’t inclined to bring your cat outdoors during the fall, there are a number of fun activities you can do to bring a little of the outdoors in. Create a perch or pet seat for your cat near a window and place a birdfeeder just outside; cats will happily watch birds for hours. You also could try growing wheatgrass or catnip in an indoor pot; both are easy to grow and interesting to cats. You can purchase either seeds or plants from a local nursery.
Other fun indoor activities for cats include food puzzles, cat videos that feature close-ups of rodents or birds and just playing with toys with you. Check out some other fun activities you can try.